In today’s world, a fast and reliable internet connection is essential. The City of Philadelphia is launching a new public survey to gather information about the type and speed of the community’s Internet access. The survey will:
- Identify if and where there is inadequate high-speed internet access
- Provide clear data to guide the City’s digital equity strategy and make policy recommendations
- Support targeting funding streams to where it is most needed.
Why Does Broadband Speed Matter?
Broadband speeds are one important measure to understand if the internet service residents are receiving meets the needs of their household. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines broadband at speeds of 25 megabits/sec down (the speed that you can download content) and 3 megabits/sec up (the speed that you can upload content). How much speed you need can depend on how many people are in your household, how many devices you are using at home, and if you are streaming videos or playing video games. Our City’s Digital Equity Plan aims for all residents to have 100/25mbps in the next five years. The City wants to identify areas of the City where access is below these speeds.
The survey was created through a partnership with Zencity, a community input platform used by local governments to hear from more residents and get meaningful and actionable insights. Zencity’s survey incorporates voices from every corner of the community. To do so, Zencity sets response targets based on U.S. Census data about the municipality. The survey uses a common speed test developed by Measurement-Lab (M-Lab). All speed test data that is collected is available through M-Labs open-source tools.
The survey takes three to five minutes to complete and is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, and Arabic. It is recommended users take the survey using their home internet, ideally from a wired connection. Residents can also take the survey from their mobile phone if that is the only way they access the internet and tell us if they do not have home internet.
The survey will ask about cost of service and measure resident satisfaction regarding their internet access. Results will be shared with the public as they become available, in keeping with the City’s commitment to transparency.